Max Kelley, 83, passed away at the family farm in Braden, Oklahoma Monday December 3,, 2018. He was a longtime resident of the Fort Smith area, born in Barling, Arkansas in 1935 to Audrey and A.P. Kelley. He was born at their family dairy farm on what is now Chaffee Crossing. He was an outstanding 4-H member showing hogs, horses, and Guernsey cattle from the family dairy. He was a member of the Arkansas Oklahoma Quadrill, avid horseman and roper. He won the National 4-H award in agriculture, graduated from Fort Smith High School in 1953 and graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1959 with a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture after a two-year tour in the Army. While attending college he was a member Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. He married Melissa Moore in 1957 and just celebrated their 61st Wedding Anniversary. After graduation he worked for Farm Bureau Insurance as Claim Adjuster and was promoted to Claims Adjustment Supervisor in Corpus Christi, Texas. He returned to Arkansas and continued Insurance work and bought a Cattle Ranch in South Sebastian County. He bought his dream farm in Braden, Oklahoma and then expanded his operation where he farmed successfully for 43 years until he retired. After his retirement he enjoyed traveling the states in the motor home, collecting antique tractors, automobiles, and military vehicles (MVPA Military Association). Max and Melissa spent summers in Colorado, and winters in Florida. He was active with the Arkansas Valley Tractor Club participating in tractor shows, parades, and tractor pulls. He was a member of the Fort Smith Antique car club where he took part in their events. One of his favorite monthly events were the Ft. Smith Q&A breakfasts. In addition, some of his lifetime achievements were being on the Arkansas, Oklahoma Fair Board, a Fort Smith Jaycee, founding member of the Carnall Riding Club, served in Arkansas Air National Guard, member of the Arkansas 4-H foundation, 4-H Volunteer Leader, Board Member of the Oklahoma Soy Bean Association and won the Oklahoma Farm Family of the year in 1978. Max followed his true passion which was row crop farming and cattle ranching in Braden, OK. He is survived by his wife Melissa; son Preston and daughter in law Christa; brother Harold; niece Lynn and nephew David. Max was a true steward of the land; he loved to see things grow! Funeral services will be 1:00pm Friday, December 7, 2018 in Edwards Funeral Home Chapel followed by burial, with U.S. Army Honors, at U.S. National Cemetery in Fort Smith. The family will greet friends from 12:00 to 1:00pm Friday prior to the service. Services are under the direction of Edwards Funeral Home. Memorial donations to the Sebastian County 4-H Foundation, 6700 Mahogany Avenue, Barling, Arkansas 72923.
Sebastian County 4-H Foundation